On May 28th Biff Bam Pop’s own Leiki Veskimets sat down with noted comic book artist, writer, and feature film director Kaare Andrews, in Toronto to discuss his latest feature, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero and quickly discovered why it’s still not safe to get back in the water. More after the jump.
Leiki Veskimets: Congrats on the film.
Kaare Andrews: Oh, thank you!
LV: You made me laugh and squirm and gross me out and make me want to hide.
Kaare Andrews: I’m sorry to put you through that.
LV: How proud are you to bring this movie to screen in Canada?
Kaare Andrews: I’m from Canada, so it’s fun to have it come here before the States. It’s interesting, it’s cool. I love the Sinister Cinema series, I think it’s a cool thing. A movie like this, at this budget level, these little horror movies, it’s rare that they get a chance to screen theatrically anymore because all the screens get filled up with Godzilla and X-Men so it’s a great little program to have these kinds of movies that used to play more regularly, play theatrical.
LV: Given your outstanding reputation in the comic book world is there a built-in fan base for this film and your films so far?
Kaare Andrews: I don’t know. It’s kind of a separate fan base, really, the horror crowd and the comics crowd. There is some overlap. There’s definitely interest in my film work from my comic book fans but it’s more curiosity, I think. I’ll find out! But also there’s a Cabin Fever fan base that have seen the movies and know the franchise and are very interested in what happens in another version of that franchise. We’ll see, hopefully everyone watches the movie.
LV: Any crossover is good for you.
Kaare Andrews: Yeah, you want to bring in new people. I would love to collect some of the horror fans and turn them onto my comics and I would take some of my comics fans and turn them onto my movies!
LV: Have you always been a fan of horror? What are some of your favourites?
Kaare Andrews: Yeah, so many. My favourites, horror movies specifically, are The Shining and The Exorcist. I think two of the greatest horror movies ever made. And I’ve always loved movies like Evil Dead or even crappy movies like The Stuff. It’s about this killer yogurt. It’s actually an alien life form and you eat it. It’s being spread throughout the country by a fake dessert company. It’s kind of a cool movie. It’s fairly ridiculous. But like The Goonies, or Gremlins, there used to be more of a horror crossover to kids movies. Gremlins is just pretty violent if you watch by today’s standards and I kind of miss that. When I was a kid there was that kind of movie but they don’t really make that anymore.
LV: Speaking of Goonies, Sean Astin!
Kaare Andrews: Yeah, Sean Astin is my Patient Zero. He was looking for a horror movie to do. He’d never done one before and he’s done a lot of giant, big movies and he specifically sets out to do some of the smaller movies. Because I think, as an actor, you can get a little lost in the machine in the big movies, your work becomes less important. But in a scrappy little movie, an actor like Sean Astin can have fun and have a say and take part, as opposed to just getting called down. And he was funny, he was jumping right in there, helping the wardrobe people and helping the make-up people and helping the stunt people (laughing). He was all in. And while we were shooting our movie, he actually stole some of my crew on our days off, and shot his own short film because he got excited about directing it. ‘Cus he’s directed some stuff. Yeah, it was great to work with Sean.
LV: I imagine it would be fun to pitch in on the wardrobe and make-up on this kind of a movie. You can have fun with that.
Kaare Andrews: Yeah, right? A horror movie is so much fun. One day I got to take hold of the fire extinguisher and hose down a bunch of people with blood. That’s a lot of fun! There’s something cathartic about it.
LV: The movie has some memorable gore scenes like the sex scene and the guy shooting the gun in the compound. Did you single those out in the story beforehand or did it reveal itself as memorable after shooting?
Kaare Andrews: A little bit of both. The initial draft of the script was written before I was involved and then I came on board. I’ve always had a childhood love of early special make-up effects. Especially the early eighties movies. I used to read books like Dick Smith’s Monster Make-Up Handbook and Tom Savini’s Bizarro and magazines like Cinemagic Magazine. I know how to do it and for me this movie was a good chance to be able to do that stuff. Hire make-up artists and I was able to work with them and design some of the stuff and it was a lot of fun. So in the script there was a couple of those things already and I just tried to look for opportunities to go a little bit further. It’s a campier movie! And a campier movie has to not have any restraint. You just have to go for it! That’s the point of a movie like this.
LV: Since it is part of a series, did you try to out-gore or out-funny, or out-scare, or treat it as a stand-alone?
Kaare Andrews: I didn’t try to out-gore but there was definitely a call-back to the first Cabin Fever. There’s a scene called the “Finger Bang Backfire”. Rider Strong is making out with the girl of his dreams. He’s doing stuff with his hand under the covers and then he pulls his hand out and it’s covered in blood. It’s kind of a shocking thing. So, there’s a scene in our movie which is a very specific callback to that, but pushed a little further. Because you can’t do the same thing again.
LV: So it was a nod to that?
Kaare Andrews: Totally! That was a specific callback. The rest of it was just it’s own movie and you have fun doing your own crazy things.
LV: You put your actors through the ringer. How far did you push them to get that terror or action?
Kaare Andrews: The biggest example of that was on Lydia Hearst’s last day of filming. Lydia Hearst, by the way, her great-grandfather is Sir William Randolph Hearst, who the movie Citizen Kane is based off of and he destroyed Orson Welles’ movie career. So I immediately had to hire her. (laughing)
LV: (laughing) For the lineage alone.
Kaare Andrews: Oh yeah, I had to test the waters and be like, oh what’s going to happen to me? So her last day of filming was Jillian Murray’s first day of filming and there’s a scene in the movie where they are in full body make-up and it took 9 hours each for them to get into that make-up. And we shot it at night, outside, on a beach, rolling around in sand. And it was this crazy scene, it was just this race to shoot it before the sun came up. So after 9 hours of make-up, then they had to do 8 hours of rolling around in the sand in a goopy, bloody confrontation. I actually didn’t have to push them because they were so into it. I had to probably push myself more than them because that was exhausting! Right after we finished shooting my DP and I looked at each other and had just nothing to say because it was so exhausting!
LV: Did you take any candid pics of people in full make-up?
Kaare Andrews: We were going so fast that we didn’t really get a lot of those cool shots. That scene with Jillian and Lydia was the bloodiest and I kept the sides from that day. Sides are the scene in miniature you carry around during shooting so you know what’s going on. It got covered in blood. It looks really cool, so I kept it as a memento of that day and the movie.
LV: That’s cool. So, what’s next for you?
Kaare Andrews: Right now I’m writing and drawing this comic book called Iron Fist: The Living Weapon for Marvel Comics. And it’s on sale now and doing really well. And I have 12 issues to do of that. And in the meantime I’m developing other movies and I think the next movie that’s gonna go is my own script. It’s kind of a crazy, action’y, if Blade Runner was a ninja movie, set in present day without any ninjas, if that makes sense. It’s noir, it’s adult, very stylized, very visual and lots of action. Kind of a tribute to the movies I grew up watching, the ninja movies I grew up watching and the horror movies I grew up watching.
LV: Awesome! We’ll look forward to that.
Kaare Andrews: Cool.
Thanks to Kaare Andrews for chatting with Biff Bam Pop!.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is playing across Canada for one night on May 29th (check your local listings). Release Date: July 26, 2014 (VOD); August 1, 2014 (limited theatrical).